Cloth Diaper Survey Prizes

Crocheted cotton veggie bags
To thank you for your participation in the Great Cloth Diaper Survey, Real Diaper Association board members have made a few simple reusable items as prizes for you. At the heart of the motivation of those who volunteer for Real Diaper Association is an understanding that we reduce our environmental impact by choosing reusables, whether reusable diapers or other household products. It's easy to wash a load of laundry, and it's just as easy to toss towels and wash cloths in with your load of laundry. DIY is a common thread for a lot of RDA members. Many cloth diaper users sew, knit, crochet, build, and make their own simple, reusable stuff. If we can do it, so can you!

Winners Will Receive...

Top 2 Non-business Referrers

  • 1 Set of Face Cloths
  • 1 Set of Wash Cloths

Top 5 Business Referrers

  • General business results from survey plus a customized (anonymous) selection of data.

10 Random Entries

  • Drawn for 1 Set of DIY Reusable Gifts below

All winners will be announced next week, the first week of January 2013. If you didn't take the survey yet, you still have time to enter before we close the 2012 survey once and for all on December 31st.

Enter now!

You Could Win These Great Prizes
Organic cotton dinner napkins

Dinner Napkins

Sewn, cotton

Made by Marie DiCocco, RDA board member since 2005

Your beautiful family dinner table needs a beautifully hemmed set of dinner napkins. These napkins are made from one of the earliest prints from Harmony Arts, the light blue Whispering Grass. Set of 4 napkins.

Soft cotton face cloths

Face Cloths

Knit, cotton

Made by Angela Torres, RDA board member since 2012

When washing faces and baby bottoms, you need a super soft cloth like these. Adorable leaf-shaped cloths as well as square cloths, all big enough to cover your hand. Bright, bold colors. Four sets of 2 washcloths, one square and one leaf.

Crocheted cotton face scrubbies

Face Scrubber

Crochet, cotton

Made by Angela Imes, RDA Treasurer

These cotton face scrubber give you mild abrasion to clean delicate skin. White, green, and brown. Set of 2 scrubbies.

Snap-together kitchen towels

Kitchen Towels

Sewn, cotton

Made by Lori Taylor, RDA Founder

Replacing paper towels? These snap-together kitchen towels will fit a paper towel roll. Several different weights so you can choose which you need for your particular clean-up job. The prints and solids are all Harmony Arts organic cotton (Stumps & Stumps Speak), and the absorbent, loopy back is hemp/cotton French terry. Light blue, brown, and natural. Set of 5 towels.

T-shirt shopping bags

T-shirt Shopping Bags

Sewn, upcycled

Made by Heather Bradley, RDA Leader Liaison

What is even better than making new material into some useful, reusable thing? Upcycling old stuff past its usefulness into new stuff that becomes useful again. A few seams in old T-shirts and you have carry bags. These clever bags fold up inside their own front pockets for tidy storage. Three sets of 2 bags.

Crocheted cotton veggie carry bags

Veggie Bags

Crochet, cotton

Made by Angela Imes, RDA Treasurer

When you are buying vegetables and fruits, but you don't want to gather up more throwaway plastic bags, what do you put your food in? Small mesh bags are a perfect size for holding half a dozen oranges or a big head of cabbage. White, green, and brown. Set of 2 bags.

Knit cotton wash cloths

Wash Cloths

Knit, cotton

Made by Lori Taylor, RDA Founder

You know what really has the absorbent power to clean up that mess? No, not a super duper paper towel but a wash cloth. Rinse, dry, reuse. Easy! Black & white variegated cotton. Rough texture makes these plain, simple cloths great for tough clean-up jobs. Black & white. Set of 2 cloths.

You can still take the Great Cloth Diaper Survey and enter to win these DIY Reusable prizes until midnight December 31st .


Help, momma! How do I...???

Carol and Amy sewing diapers in San Diego

Carol and Amy sewing diapers in San Diego

Perhaps you are part of the 44% of Great Cloth Diaper Survey respondents who were diapered in cloth laundered at home.  Maybe your mother is now supporting you in using cloth diapers on your children.  Here in San Diego, several local grandmas are even sewing cloth diapers for their grandchildren.  (Even my mom, who never sewed diapers for my children, is now converting prefolds to fitteds for my coming niece!).

But maybe you're part of the majority of survey respondents whose parents have no experience with cloth diapers. Where do you go for information and support?

Even if your parents used cloth diapers, they probably have no experience with the wide variety of styles and fabrics used today.  How do you learn about these new diapers and learn how to incorporate them into your life?

The Real Diaper Association trains volunteers to start and lead local Real Diaper Circles, which are groups of parents within a community who support one another in using cloth diapers.  Those leader volunteers also communicate with one another to get difficult questions answered for their Circle members.  This is a POWERFUL support network but it doesn't reach everyone.  One of the goals of the Great Cloth Diaper Survey is to better understand what other methods of support are successful for new cloth diapering parents and to learn how to strengthen and spread those methods to more families.

Have you heard someone say, "I tried cloth diapers, but they didn't work for me"? I have.  Sometimes it sounds like an excuse.  Sometimes I genuinely wish I had been there to support them, because I know they wanted to succeed.  Those are the families I want to reach, and I'm hoping your input on the survey will help direct our efforts to do so.  If you haven't yet completed the survey, please do so now!

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Great Cloth Diaper Survey Questions

Wondering about how completing the Great Cloth Diaper Survey can help the Real Diaper Association improve its efforts to help more families find and succeed with reusable cloth diapers? Here are some examples of how the demographic information we collect will help.

Photo rights donated to Real Diaper Association in 2009 photo contest

We ask you how many children you've cloth diapered and how long you've been doing it. Why? It's possible that experienced cloth diaperers do things differently than new cloth diaperers. If so, can we share that knowledge to help people succeed earlier with cloth diapers?

We asked you when you started cloth diapering each child and how you learned about cloth diapering. We want to reach more families to teach them about cloth diapers. This information will help us better direct our outreach methods to reach new families to teach them about cloth diapers.

We asked you how old your current baby (or babies) in cloth diapers is (are). Why? It's possible that diapering practices change based on the age of the baby. If so, can we be more specific with the recommendations our Circle Leaders make to families in their communities?

We asked you about your education and income levels. Why? We want to know if diapering methods change based on those variables. If so, can we improve our recommendations for different segments of the population? Also, we want to better understand the demographics of our community, both to help us recognize who we're missing with our messaging and to better hone our message for our closest constituents.

If you haven't yet responded to the Great Cloth Diaper Survey, please do so today! We are more than halfway to our goal of 10,000 respondents but need YOUR input to be complete. Please also pass the survey on to anyone you know who might use cloth diapers. You'll both be eligible for some high quality DIY prizes handcrafted as a thank you from the Real Diaper Association Board of Directors.

Thank you,

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Dear Great Cloth Diaper Survey, I need some help...

Thank you for asking! Having previously proven my ability to help you launder diapers and get new families started with cloth diapers, I'm glad you realized I'd also be able to help you use cloth diapers!

Poor baby's rashy leg

picture courtesy of Bridget in San Diego

It's true. Take this question, for example:

"If you baby has had diaper rash, which of these things helped?"

I am compiling a list of thousands of responses and can sort out a list of those things that helped the most people (preview: using rash cream, giving more diaper-free time, and modifying diapering changing frequency are currently the top responses). I can then share that with you (via my bosses at the Real Diaper Association) to support you (and other parents) in the future.

By answering questions about which types of daycare aren't allowing cloth diapers, I can help focus the efforts of the Real Diaper Association in conducting outreach and education with daycare providers, preventing this problem for future cloth diapering families.

Help ME help YOU!  Only 15-20 minutes and prizes are available...

Thank you,

The 2012 Great Cloth Diaper Survey

Survey helping more families get started with cloth diapers

Thousands of current cloth diaper users have responded to our 2012 Great Cloth Diaper Survey so far.  Previously, I explained how the Great Cloth Diaper Survey will help you with your laundry.  But it can do more than that!

The Great Cloth Diaper Survey can help more families learn about and get started with cloth diapers!

In the second section of the survey, we're looking into where people first learned about cloth diapers, as well as when and why they decided to use them. As an organization full of volunteers looking to help more families choose cloth diapers, this information can help us reach new parents at the right place and time.

DIY hand-knitting a wool diaper soaker

Photo courtesy of Jessica in San Diego, 2012

Knowing about cloth diapers is the first step to using them.  The second step is actually procuring them. There are several important areas we're researching here:

  • the secondary market - - what portion of cloth diapers are being bought/sold/or traded used?  Is this a useful way to save money on cloth diapers?  How can we support parents using pre-loved diapers?
  • the businesses supplying diapers (and those supporting users) - - what portion of cloth diaper sales happen online? What types of businesses are providing support for the diapers they sell?  (Perhaps RDA can help...)
  • DIY diapers - - What types of diapering products are being made at home?  Can we support parents in saving money through making some portion of their own diapering supplies?
  • the factors influencing diaper purchases - - How important is price vs. other factors such as where it was made?  Are people looking primarily for certain styles or fabrics?  How heavily are people weighting reviews or recommendations from friends?

If you are currently using cloth diapers at all (even part of the time), please take the survey now! It will only take 15-20 minutes of your time.  Then pass it on to everyone you know who might use cloth diapers!  More information about the survey, including about the prizes for participants and referrers is in this other blog post.

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Disposable diapers in hospitals

The New York Times published an article yesterday about how hospitals are stopping the practice of distributing formula samples to breastfeeding mothers. It was interesting to read in the context of considering the use of disposable cloth diapers in hospital maternity wards (and are also often sent home with new parents).

Newborn baby in hospital-provided disposable diaper

Photo courtesy Sarah in San Diego

Like cloth diapering, breastfeeding is the healthiest option for babies.  However, formula companies recognize the crucial marketing opportunity they have with new parents in hospitals.  Samples provided by hospitals 

  • improve brand recognition for future consumers and
  • imply that the product is approved by their doctor.

If providing formula samples to new parents is so useful that formula companies give them to the hospitals for FREE, what about the use of disposable diapers in hospital maternity wards?

Would the use of reusable cloth diapers in maternity wards encourage longer term cloth diaper use?

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Cloth Diapers in the Media: Shark Tank

It was exciting to see cloth diapers on the popular TV show, Shark Tank, on Friday night (9/28).  What a great opportunity to show the audience that reusable cloth diapers are on the upswing given increasing awareness about the environment and a tough economy!

Unfortunately, the cloth diapers themselves were hardly addressed in the Shark Tank, with attention devoted instead to patent issues and manufacturing problems.  A lost opportunity, perhaps, but useful in that the issue of the influx of cheap cloth diapers from overseas into the market is one that needs to be discussed.

Most families demonstrate willingness to pay extra to match certain values. (For example, many families are willing to pay more for disposable diapers to receive the perceived benefit of convenience).  However, there is always a line to be drawn.

So what ARE the issues that might be considered when deciding whether or not to choose the cheapie cloth diapers?

  • Considering cheap reusable cloth diapersIs it possible to pay living wages and ensure acceptable working conditions (both in manufacturing and distribution) below a certain price point? 
  • Do lower quality materials and construction result in hidden costs of repair or replacement, or even unacceptable performance (leaking diapers or hazardous materials used)?
  • If customers give up support from the manufacturer or retailer, are they in danger of using or caring for the product incorrectly?  Do the costs of customer support get passed to local small businesses?
  • How does a choice to buy a cheap product from overseas affect the stability of local businesses?
  • As discussed on Shark Tank, is intellectual property being infringed upon?

I often explain that my goal is not to “convince” someone to use cloth diapers. It is, instead, to give families the information they need about the benefits and use of cloth diapers to make an informed decision.  In the same way, I merely suggest consideration of these issues so you can be an informed cloth diaper consumer.

Lastly, cloth diapering both inexpensively and ethically is possible. And helping low-income families get into cloth diapers is something that the Real Diaper Association supports and helps to facilitate (as discussed most recently here and here).

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association


(Update: Real Diaper Week is now celebrated via School of Cloth in the Fall. Our link updated to reflect this change.)

How the Great Cloth Diaper Survey will help you with your laundry

The Great Cloth Diaper Survey promises to fold and put away at least one load of diaper laundry a week for you.  NAME another survey that can help you that much!! Okay, so not really. BUT, the Great Cloth Diaper Survey really CAN help with your laundry! How? This past spring, the Real Diaper Association released our Cloth Diaper Laundering Guide.  It was released as part of a new section of our website on cloth diaper laundry, where we are addressing all the corollary concerns that people have about cloth diapering.  How are we doing that?  In the same way we do all our work - using an evidence-based approach that relies heavily on research.

Cloth diaper laundry science from the Real Diaper AssociationAmong other things, we are looking at these survey results for the following information:

- - What kind of access do cloth diapering families have to laundering facilities? Is it possible to cloth diaper if you don't have your own washer and dryer?

- - How regularly are people bleaching their diapers and what are they using? Cloth diapers are often criticized because of their use of chlorine bleach. But what portion of diaper laundry actually includes chlorine bleach?

- - How much detergent are people using and what other additives are they including? Comparing detergent and additive use to other factors such as frequency of laundering, diaper type, and water type can add to our research to answer more of your questions about washing cloth diapers.

So, if you haven't yet donated the 15-20 minutes of your time it will take to complete the survey, please do so!! Then pass it on to everyone you know who might use cloth diapers even some of the time!  More information about the survey, including about the prizes for participants and referrers is in this other blog post.

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Stop Bumming Around

High Tech High (HTH) is a set of project-based charter schools in San Diego County. My husband teaches 12th grade at the Chula Vista HTH. The schools are innovative and almost entirely teacher led so they spend a lot of time practicing and collaborating to hone their project focus.  This summer, before they started school, teachers at HTH Chula Vista participated in a retreat where they formed teams to design and present a project to advance the mission of an assigned local nonprofit. The goal was to learn about nonprofits with which their students could collaborate and to refamiliarize themselves with the process of designing and implementing a project, which they do (and ask their students to do) over and over again throughout the year.

One team was assigned to the Real Diaper Association. We provided them a set of readings and access to our website for their initial study. The team then conducted interviews with Lori Taylor and myself, attended a local San Diego Real Diaper Circle meeting with me, and visited the local landfill where they learned more about diaper waste. They presented their "Stop Bumming Around" project plan to other teachers and students, where it was met with great interest from the students. They focused the project around these essential questions:

  • How do societal pressures shape our lifestyle choices? How can we effectively communicate messages concerning sensitive topics? The team, only one of whom had children, were interested to learn that many parenting decisions are sensitive topics due to societal pressures. Our focus on Nonviolent Communication and our use of it to talk with parents about their diapering practices made a lot of sense in this context. They also saw the usefulness of this style of communication in other situations students might encounter as well.
  • What is the value of oral histories? What is the power of data? Here they were interested in determining what types of information affect various people. Is it more effective to use oral histories to share information about diapering or is hard data more effective?
  • Is new better than old? Many people sell cloth diapers by calling them "modern", in common with all the "new" and "improved" advertising. Many users, though, often find success with simple, reusable cloth diapers like prefolds or flats, which tend to get marginalized by this marketing tactic. The team found this to be a useful concept to address with their students as they develop their consumer minds.

The project summary reads:

"Students will work with the Real Diaper Association of San Diego to help in their mission of increasing the use of cloth diapers and creating a cultural shift in the image of cloth diapers. Students will collect data for the organization on cloth diaper use and knowledge - qualitative data in the form of oral histories and quantitative data through a detailed survey. Students will research the economic, environmental, and health benefits of using cloth diapers. And they will ultimately investigate the power of effective communication skills, particularly using non-violent communication for discussing sensitive topics. Students will use their research and communication skills in creating a cloth diaper conversion kit to give to expectant parents."

Cloth Diapers in Hospitals Overall, it was a fun collaboration that we're hoping to continue in the spring. In support of this effort, we have also written a grant proposal to cover costs in a larger project to get cloth diapers into hospitals. As demonstrated in a 2003 University of Surrey study (Uzzell, D., & Leach, R.. The implementation and evaluation of cotton nappy provision at east surrey hospital maternity unit), parents are more likely to choose cloth diapers the earlier they are exposed to them. Therefore, parents could benefit by using cloth diapers in the maternity ward and being exposed to them in prenatal and basic baby care classes at hospitals. Watch this space for more information as the projects take off in 2013!

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Summer with the Real Diaper Association

Photo credit Novia Gavins, 2009

Last week, we held a webinar to update our volunteers about the work we've conducted over the summer at the Real Diaper Association (in between beach outings, of course). These volunteers bring the information back to their communities to help more families find and use reusable cloth diapers. Since some of our readers may also find this information useful, I will recap our work here. Cloth Diapers in Municipal Zero Waste Planning As I've written about here in the past, local volunteers successfully advocated that the City of Oceanside adopt a zero waste plan that included recommendations for increasing cloth diaper use. Real Diaper Circle Leader Accreditations We accredited several new Real Diaper Circle Leaders to educate and support families in their communities about using cloth diapers: Kansas City Real Diaper Circle – Aaron Dutton of Independence, MO Greater Lansing Real Diaper Circle – Lynn Ross of Lansing, MI Northern New Jersey Real Diaper Circle - Alexis Weinstein of Hillsdale, NJ Honolulu Real Diaper Circle - Jennifer Nguyen of Honolulu, HI We are also better supporting our accredited Circle Leaders with an updated handbook and supporting digital resources, and are in the process of creating a fabric binder that will explain the fibers and fabrics used in cloth diapering, including information about caring for them. RDA on Pinterest In case you missed it, we launched our Pinterest account this summer! Boards include Handouts for Cloth Diaper Workshops, Circle Leader Videos, Cloth Diaper Info, How Others Do It, and many more. Please follow us and alert us to other good content to include! Cloth Diapers in Hospitals We've long wanted to follow up on the work started a couple years back by volunteers related to getting cloth diapers back into the maternity wards at hospitals and therefore introduced earlier to all parents. Starting with a collaboration with High Tech High Chula Vista, where teachers researched and planned a project to implement with their students in the spring of 2013 to assist the Real Diaper Association, we developed a larger project plan for which we've applied for grant funding to conduct next year. As with most of our projects, this one begins with a research phase and ends with a direct action component that would allow any parents to advocate with their local hospital to bring in cloth diapers to their maternity wards and/or their prenatal / baby care classes. Parent Savers podcast I was the guest expert on the diapering episode for the ParentSavers radio show. It turned out to be a great resource for new parents expecting their first baby, so please feel free to pass it on! We're working with Ventura County Real Diaper Circle Leader Janice Roodsari to write a cloth diaper blog series for a new website for natural-minded parents to focus on attracting new parents to cloth diapering. The first post is titled What is a Diaper and Why Would You Need One? and is ideally suited for new parents just approaching the idea of diapers for the first time, so is another great resource to pass on. 2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change and Real Diaper Awareness Month The new organizing committee has begun work and the date has been set for the 2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change! Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11am LOCAL TIME! Mark your calendars and watch the Great Cloth Diaper Change website for more information. Since conducting Real Diaper Week in conjunction with the Great Cloth Diaper Change this past year led to an overload on many hosts, we decided to move it to the fall, starting with Real Diaper Awareness Month this November. Watch here for more details as they emerge from the joint RDA/Real Diaper Industry Association committee... The Great Cloth Diaper Survey! Lastly, we created, with the help of some statisticians, our first comprehensive current cloth diapering practices survey, intended for 10,000+ responses. The results will be used to create new education and support resources based on the needs and practices of the cloth diapering community. We are also offering high quality DIY reusables as prizes for participants and referrers! Here's the blog post that includes all the details about the survey. Of course, none of this work could be done without your support. Thanks to all our members, volunteers, and donors for continuing to support the cloth diaper movement! Heather McNamara Executive Director, Real Diaper Association